PWCS Testing for Lead in Drinking Water — First Results Announced
Posted on 05/30/2017

PWCS has started testing for lead in school drinking water supplies in anticipation of a new Virginia law that takes effect in July. The law requires testing to start with the oldest schools (built before 1986), which are most susceptible to lead problems. For PWCS, that means testing in 44 schools is scheduled to happen between now and the end of the current school year. Remaining schools will follow.  

Water samples are drawn from any device that could be used for drinking purposes. Samples are taken on weekends, after a no usage period. Lab results take 2-3 weeks. Families will be notified immediately anytime testing at their child’s school detects any lead levels requiring action.

As of late May, tests of more than 170 water sources in four schools, found only four isolated cases of lead exceeding so-called “action levels” in sinks generally not used for drinking water. The sinks were immediately shut down upon notification from the lab. In each case, faucets suspected as the cause were quickly replaced.  No water source will be put back in service until retesting confirms that lead levels are below action levels. 

Lead in drinking water is a potential health concern for children. Schools generally relied on municipal water suppliers, which do their own testing, to keep lead content to acceptable levels. Virginia’s new law is now adding an extra margin of safety by requiring School Divisions to have a testing plan. Prince William County Schools is getting a jump start on the process in keeping with its commitment to student safety.

Test results and the anticipated schedule for future tests are posted online. Following the first round of tests, PWCS will put all schools on a cycle of testing every three years.

Additional information about the upcoming VA testing law